Hans Wegner (1914 - 2007) is one of a handful of designers who helped to define modern Danish design. In a career spanning more than seven decades, Wegner worked quietly and consistently on a remarkable range of designs that were to transform the domestic aesthetic and become coveted classics.
Above all, Wegner was a master craftsman with a keen understanding of the properties and potential of natural materials. Born in 1914 in Tønder, the son of a shoemaker, he was apprenticed to a carpenter at the age of 17 before studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He studied there from 1936-1938, before taking further studies as an architect.
In 1940 Wegner initiated a joint project with Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in Aarhus, which involved fitting out Aarhus' town hall. It was also in 1940 that Wegner began to work with Master Carpenter Johannes Hansen, a man who played a significant role in bringing modern design to the Danish public. The then Copenhagen Industrial Art Museum (now Design Museum Denmark) purchased their first Wegner chair in 1942. Hans J. Wegner opened his own design studio in 1943, and in 1944 he designed his first "China Chair" in a series inspired by the Chinese Emperor's thrones. Probably Wegner's most famous work, the "Wishbone Chair" was designed in 1949 and has been manufactured by Carl Hansen & Søn since 1950.
Wegner received a number of prizes and recognitions. Amongst other things, he was an honorary member of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. He was also the first ever recipient of the Lunning Prize and received the 8th International Design Award in Osaka, Japan. His works are exhibited at major international museums including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and Die Neue Sammlung in Munich.
Read Hans Wegner's obituary.